Cellophane house: The art of prefab living


A few months ago, I wrote a couple of pieces about prefab homes. The companies that I explored, dome house and Kithouse, offered relatively cheap ($30,000) homes that could be constructed almost anywhere, were easy to build, and could be connected to make larger, more luxurious spaces. They showed that prefabs could be comfortable and reasonably attractive, but they didn't really make any claims to artistic merit. According to New York's Museum of Modern Art, however, prefab homes have just entered their next stage: the art scene.

Cellophane house, a MOMA installation that went up this past summer, was a five-story, 1800 square foot house that was constructed entirely from prefab parts. According to MOMA, it demonstrated that "A building is, at root, nothing more than an assemblage of materials forming an enclosure [...] While we tend to think of buildings as permanent, they are in fact only a resting state for materials, a temporary equilibrium that is destined to be upset by the entropic forces that drive the physical universe."

While MOMA's justification for the installation seems a little esoteric, it's pretty interesting that they have determined that prefab buildings can be art. What's particularly cool about this is the fact that a prefab housing company, Living Homes, has started selling buildings designed by Cellophane House's creator, Kieran Timberlake. Starting at a little over $200,000, Living Homes' offerings have 1-5 bedrooms, have a minimum of 1,540 square feet, and come with a LEED silver rating. Best of all, they give homeowners the opportunity to live in an honest-to-goodness, genuine work of art!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He once lived in a prefab house. It was not art.